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Summary

  1. Riverside Leisure Centre fire: Probe into cause of blaze under way
  2. SW councils condemn government's final funding settlement
  3. PCSO 'hijacked' gritter lorry in search for missing boy
  4. Police commissioner investigation nearing end
  5. Falmouth Rugby Club's been forced to close its clubhouse after a suspected outbreak of norovirus
  6. Spaniel eats Thomas the Tank Engine train
  7. Updates on Wednesday 22 February 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Don't forget Spotlight on BBC One later. There will also be news through the night on your BBC Local Radio station.

Exeter blaze: Leisure centre freezes fees after fire

Stephen Bardwell

Local Live

The owners of Exeter’s fire-hit Riverside Leisure Centre have thanked staff and the emergency services for their "fast action in dealing with the incident".

Riverside Leisure Centre
BBC

Two people were injured and 50 people evacuated from the blaze at the centre on Tuesday, which was fought by about 120 firefighters.

Legacy Leisure said the complex would remain closed for the foreseeable future and that swimmers' membership fees would be "frozen until the end of March when a further review will take place".

Managers added that customers would still be able to use facilities at the other Legacy Leisure sites in the city and that staff "will be relocated to these centres".

Legacy said: "Where possible, block bookings and exercise classes will transfer to Clifton Hill and Wonford; swimming classes to the Pyramids pool."

Teignmouth-Shaldon bridge to be raised every year

BBC Radio Devon

A Devon bridge is to be raised once a year to ensure the recently refurbished structure "remains operational and to allow essential maintenance", a council says.

Shaldon Bridge
BBC

The Teignmouth to Shaldon bridge was raised last week for first time in 14 years.

The work on the bridge, completed in 1931, was carried out to ensure the safe passage of vessels beneath it.

This is despite the 324m-long structure bridge not having to operate its lifting span for commercial shipping purposes "for many years", Devon County Council said.

However, it added that a government act required that the bridge remained operational.

Slaughterman 'butchered animals in filthy abattoir caked in blood'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Illegal slaughterhouse. Pic: Mid Devon District Council
Mid Devon District Council

A rogue slaughterman illegally butchered animals in a filthy abattoir caked in blood and rotting meat, a court heard.

Forty-year-old Matthew Broom, of Cowley Moor Road, Tiverton, admitted 16 food hygiene offences at Exeter Crown Court for illegally butchering about 4,000 animals between 2008-2013.

The court heard more than one tonne of unfit meat was seized when his premises was raided by Mid Devon District Council.

He was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years, ordered to do 180 hours unpaid community work, and ordered to repay an estimated £40,000 in profit under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Sentencing, the judge said it was a breach of "basic hygiene practices known to any household".

Mid Devon Council said the sentence was a "major deterrent" to those who jeopardised food safety.

Exeter fire: Leisure centre 'closed for the foreseeable future'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A leisure centre in Exeter which had 120 firefighters battling a blaze in it will be "closed for the foreseeable future", bosses say.

Leisure centre roof
BBC

Legacy Leisure said the Riverside Centre was "evacuated successfully and in line with our emergency action plan".

It added: "The fire started in the sauna which has been extensively damaged. We are working with the authorities to establish the cause and to fully assess the damage elsewhere in the building."

Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

  • A road rage motorist is jailed for 11 months after being caught on a helmet camera driving dangerously
  • A second man charged in connection with the death of a former charity fundraiser whose body was found in a wheelie bin in Exeter denies murder 
  • A leisure centre in Exeter badly damaged in a fire will be closed for the foreseeable future
  • A police community support officer in Tiverton has a "follow that car" moment, commandeering a gritter lorry to help successfully track down a missing boy
  • Public health officials investigate a suspected virus outbreak at a Cornish rugby club which has affected as many as 40 people
  • A Torpoint dog is back on track to health after surgery to remove a toy train he swallowed... which he must have mistaken for a "chew-chew" toy 

Exeter fire: Guinea pigs reunited with owners

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The pets had to be evacuated from a nearby building when emergency crews were dealing with the Riverside Leisure Centre blaze.

Latest weather: Getting windier before Thursday gales

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

It'll remain cloudy overnight, with patchy rain continuing for some.

However, it'll become increasingly windy for all, especially towards dawn, with more persistent rain arriving from the west by sunrise. Minimum temperature: 8C (46F).

Weather
BBC

Thursday will be very windy, with gales expected, and severe gales over coastlines and the moors in the morning as Storm Doris moves east across the UK.

A band of heavy rain will spread from the west through the morning, with brighter spells developing through the afternoon, but it will feel much cooler, especially in the wind. Maximum temperature: 11C (52F).

Road rage driver 'involved in similar incidents before'

John Henderson

BBC Spotlight

A man jailed after being caught on a moped rider's helmet camera driving dangerously was involved in similar incidents before, a court heard.

At Exeter Crown Court, 23-year-old Jake Warren was imprisoned for 11 months after he admitted dangerous driving and assault by battery in an incident involving the moped rider last October.  

The court heard he'd previously punched a cyclist on the thigh whilst a passenger in a car and had also assaulted a police officer. He was also in breach of two other suspended sentences: one for concealing criminal property, the other for possession of cannabis with intent to supply.

Emily Pitts, defending, said Warren - who is autistic, dyslexic and has ADHD - was working well with probation.

Exeter leisure centre fire: Blaze 'not thought suspicious at this stage'

BBC Radio Devon

The cause of a fire at a leisure centre in Exeter is not thought to be suspicious at this stage, senior fire officers say.

Leisure centre interior
BBC

A detailed forensic search of the fire-damaged Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter is under way. 

About 120 firefighters were called to the incident on Tuesday afternoon. Two people were injured and about 50 people evacuated from the centre.

Man denies murder of charity fundraiser

BBC Radio Devon

A second man has pleaded not guilty to the murder of a former charity fundraiser whose body was found in a wheelie bin in Exeter.

James Woodhouse
Handout

Thomas Killen, of North Lawn Court, denied killing James Woodhouse (pictured) last year when he appeared at the city's Crown Court. The 32-year-old was remanded in custody until a trial due in July.

Brett Edwards, 37, of Okehampton Road in Exeter denied murder when he appeared in court last December.

Thirty-year-old Mr Woodhouse's body was found at a bedsit in Okehampton Road on 21 November.

Exeter leisure centre fire: 'Three lines of attack to stop blaze'

BBC Radio Devon

Firefighters used "three lines of attack" to put out a fire at a leisure centre in Exeter, emergency services say.

Leisure centre interior
BBC

Investigators are tying to determine how the blaze started in the sauna of the Riverside Centre yesterday afternoon and spread, damaging much of the building. Fifteen fire appliances from across Devon tackled the incident.

Matt Johnson, from Devon and Somerset Fire Service, said: "The first [line of attack] was to put the fire out in sauna and health suite areas. Next was putting it out in the air conditioning system. Then we cut holes in the roof to get water mist into the roof space and put the fire out in there."

Relief after Cyril's 'carriage' proves not too disastrous

Stephen Bardwell

Local Live

Cyril the spaniel. Pic: PDSA
PDSA

Having swallowed a toy Thomas the Tank Engine train carriage, Cyril the Spaniel was rushed to Plymouth PDSA Pet Hospital to have it removed.

Imagine his owner’s relief, when the nine-year-old Cavalier King Charles made a swift recovery and was back home, in Torpoint, the next day.

"We were really worried about Cyril because he was so poorly, and needed a big operation. We were relieved when we received the call to say it had gone well," said owner Lesley Mellor.

We think it’s great to see Cyril back on track again after his emergency shunt to the vets. Lesley and her son, Cameron, must be wondering what train of thought led to Cyril’s loco snack. Perhaps Cyril thought his choice of diet might be a "fat controller"?

Intensive care unit has large beds for patients up to 31 stone

BBC Radio Devon

A new £15m intensive care unit at Torbay Hospital will have two extra large beds to accommodate patients weighing up to 31 stone, managers say.

Torbay Hospital
BBC

The unit, which has taken 18 months to build, is being unveiled today, with the first patients due to be admitted on Friday.

It also has special bays for treating people with severe infections.

Club virus outbreak: 30-40 people thought to be ill

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Between 30-40 people are believed to be suffering from a virus in a suspected outbreak at Falmouth Rugby Club, public health officials say.

People have reported feeling ill since two events at the venue over the weekend. On Saturday there was a drum and bass night. On Sunday there was a christening.

The club said it was not holding any events until public health officials were satisfied a deep clean had tackled the suspected norovirus.  

Public Health England and Cornwall Council are investigating.

Cornish Pirates hooker Elloway retires

BBC Sport

Rob Elloway
Getty Images

Cornish Pirates' former Germany international Rob Elloway has retired with immediate effect at the age of 33.

Hooker Elloway joined the Pirates from Gloucester in 2007 and played 229 times for the Penzance-based club. He made two appearances for the German national team, and spent time out on loan at London Welsh when they were in the Premiership in 2015.

"With a two-year-old and another on the way in July, I want to spend more time with my wife and children," he said.

"I feel excited to start the next chapter in my life and keen to find a role where my positive nature and enthusiasm will make a difference. "

'Follow that boy': Boy 'shocked' after gritter pursuit'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A runaway boy was apparently left "shocked" after being caught by a police community support officer who flagged down a gritter lorry in Devon to track him, police say. 

PCSO Paul Goodier jumped aboard the vehicle in a "follow that car" moment after the lorry driver said he had spotted the boy who had run away from his parents in Tiverton. 

They tracked the boy down close to where the driver had last seen him.

Tiverton Police said: "The boy's shocked face as our officer of the week climbed down from the cab was apparently a picture. He didn't even think to run off."

'Road rage' driver jailed for dangerous driving

John Henderson

BBC Spotlight

A motorist has been jailed for 11 months after he was caught on a helmet camera driving dangerously.

Twenty-three-year-old Jake Warren cried as he was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court.

The court was shown footage from a head cam of a teenage moped rider which showed Warren's BMW car driving dangerously in the city last October, almost forcing the moped into a traffic island, and then ending in an assault on the rider.

Warren, of Bennet Square, Exeter, admitted dangerous driving and assault by battery. Sentencing, Recorder James Watson QC said his actions amounted to "road rage".

Club virus outbreak: People advised to see a doctor

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

Organisers of a drum and bass night at Falmouth Rugby Club, which is at the centre of a suspected virus outbreak, have been advising people who attended to see a doctor, and have been posting regular updates on Facebook.  

DJ tweets. Pic: Twitter/@hedexuk
Twitter/@hedexuk

At least 15 people have been feeling violently ill since the sold-out event on Saturday night organised by Therapy DnB.

Hedex, one of the DJ's at the event, said on Twitter on Monday: "I am so ill I am considering to start writing my will."

Public Health England (PHE) said it was likely to be norovirus, and added it was investigating with Cornwall Council. The venue has voluntarily shut and will be conducting a deep clean.

Gritter hijacked in PCSO's 'follow that car' moment

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A police community support officer in Tiverton had a "moment of inspiration" when he flagged down a gritter lorry in Devon to help successfully track down a missing boy.

Gritter. Pic: Getty Images
Getty Images

PCSO Paul Goodier jumped aboard the vehicle after the lorry driver said he had spotted a boy who had run away from his parents in Tiverton. They tracked the boy down close to where the driver had last seen him.

Tiverton Police said Goodier had a "follow that car moment". 

A spokesman added: "He hijacked a gritter. I am not sure if he got the driver to raise his right hand and swore him in as his deputy, but this was partnership working, deputising and searching all delicately rolled into one."

Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

  • Investigators are trying to find out how a serious fire started in the Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter, injuring two people
  • As many as 40 people may have been affected by a suspected outbreak of norovirus at a Cornish rugby club
  • South West councils condemn the government's final funding settlement for local authorities
  • A police community support officer flags down a gritter lorry in Devon to help successfully track down a missing boy 
  • A dog who swallowed a toy train is back on track after needing surgery to remove what was definitely not a "chew-chew" toy, vets say

Council reviews over-16 education travel funds

BBC Radio Cornwall

Young people aged 16-19 in Cornwall could be asked to pay more for their travel to school or college. 

Cornwall Council is currently seeking the view of young people, their families and schools and colleges about what the future should be for over-16s school transport. 

The authority said it didn't have a statutory duty to provide subsidised travel to those over 16, and budget constraints meant it had to save money in the area.

Dog back on track after 'risky' surgery to remove toy train

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A dog who swallowed a toy train is back on track after needing "risky" emergency surgery to remove it, a vet says.

Nine-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Cyril, from Torpoint in Cornwall, started vomiting after eating the toy last month, worrying his owner, Lesley Mellor. 

X-ray. Pic: PDSA
PDSA

He was rushed to Plymouth's PDSA pet hospital, where an X-ray revealed he had got his paws on a "Clarabel" toy - a character from Thomas the Tank Engine. 

Vet David Jones said: "Whenever a dog swallows a foreign object, there is a very real risk of a blockage in the intestines, which could be fatal. Once we'd X-rayed Cyril, we took him straight into theatre to operate." 

He warned owners to keep small items away from dogs, as they often use their mouths to "investigate objects", but "in doing so they can swallow an item by mistake", risking potentially "disastrous consequences".

Public health officials look into drum and bass night virus outbreak

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

Public health officials say they are working with environmental officers after a drum and bass night was at the centre of a suspected virus outbreak. 

At least 15 people have been feeling violently ill since the sold-out event on Saturday night at Falmouth Rugby Club organised by Therapy DnB.

Public Health England (PHE) said it was likely to be norovirus, and added it was investigating with Cornwall Council. 

Dr Sarah Harrison, from PHE, said: "Norovirus is highly infectious. 

"PHE is working with environmental health officers from the council to ensure that appropriate precautions and procedures are in place."

The venue has voluntarily shut and will be conducting a deep clean.

Exeter Airport sees more growth in passenger numbers

BBC Radio Devon

Exeter Airport says the number of passengers it has seen is continuing to grow for the fourth year in a row. 

Latest figures show nearly 850,000 people flew from Exeter in 2016. 

Bosses said it was partly down to more people flying out of Devon in search of winter sunshine.

Latest travel in Devon

BBC Travel

  • In Plymouth, one lane is blocked Exeterbound on the A38 Parkway at Marsh Mills by an accident
  • In Paignton, Marldon Road is closed due to a collision near Pynes Road. Traffic is advised to use Preston Downs Road. Severe delays are expected

Exeter leisure centre fire: Cause not known

Alison Johns, BBC Radio Devon

The cause of a major fire at the Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter isn't known yet. 

Fire investigators are working with police to find the probable cause, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager Paul McAllister said.

Riverside Leisure Centre pool door
BBC

At its height yesterday, 120 firefighters were dealing with the blaze. There's serious fire damage within the health suite, as well as smoke and water damage in the pool area. 

One appliance is still at the scene, but the fire service said it expected to completely scale down and hand over the building to the owners by lunchtime.

'Follow that boy': PCSO commandeers gritter lorry to find missing boy

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

A police community support officer flagged down a gritter lorry in Devon to help successfully track down a missing boy.

Gritter. Pic: Getty Images
Getty Images

The quick-thinking officer asked the lorry driver if he'd seen the boy, who had run away from his parents in Tiverton.

When the driver said he had seen someone matching the description, PCSO Paul Goodier jumped aboard. 

They tracked the boy down close to where the driver had last seen him.

Shepherd signs new Albion deal

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Plymouth Albion full-back Matt Shepherd has signed a new two-year contract with the National One side.

The 26-year-old, who has won the County Championship with Cornwall, joined Albion from Launceston in June 2015.

“He has played a lot of rugby at this level now," said Albion head coach Kieran Hallett. "The next step for him is to be a leader and have more of a say in how we play and how things go on the pitch.”

Severe accident: A38 Devon eastbound

BBC News Travel

A38 Devon eastbound severe accident, at A374 Plymouth Road.

A38 Devon - A38 The Parkway in Plympton blocked and slow traffic eastbound at Marsh Mills Roundabout, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Fishermen welcome Plymouth quay proposals in city plan

Adrian Campbell, Environment Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

View more on twitter

Fishermen say their plans for a multimillion-pound renaissance of the fish quay in Plymouth have been given a boost with the publication of the city's Development Plan for the next decade. 

Sutton Harbour Holdings, which owns the site, said its alternative proposal to develop the quay would also benefit fishermen. 

The city council said the plan aimed to deliver a "single strategic plan for the city, looking ahead to 2031 and beyond".

But the leader of the Labour group on the city council, Tudor Evans, said the area needed to be carefully managed to support marine employment rather than being developed into housing or shops.